Domestic cat with no reproductive organs (a world first?)

A domestic cat with no reproductive organs (a world first?) has popped up. This charming cat who looks female has been described as ‘gender neutral’ but reproductive organs are not the sole measure of gender. True or false?

The Telegraph have a headline about a “gender-neutral” cat born with “no sexual organs”. I don’t think that is very well written! I think they mean “sex organs” or the better phrase is ‘reproductive organs’ I believe. A technical point but this story is about a technical issue. It is an issue about inheriting defective anatomy to produce a cat which might be described as a “medical curiosity”. Victorian voyeurism comes to mind at circuses!

Hope a rescue cat with no reproductive organs
Hope a rescue cat with no reproductive organs. Picture: Cats Protection.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

On my research, feline medical curiosities are due to genetic mutations of recessive genes which are inherited from parents.

In this instance we have a charming-looking tabby-and-white cat who was part of an abandoned litter rescued by Cats Protection Tyneside, UK. They named her Hope and a regular physical check revealed that Hope neither had female nor male reproductive organs internally or externally.

The report is that there is nothing there in terms of reproductive anatomy, but she can urinate. Do we call her a he or she? I’ve called her a ‘she’ because she looks feminine. But she’s not a hermaphrodite because a hermaphrodite has both male and female reproductive organs.

I suppose the phrase “gender neutral” is pretty accurate but you could argue that she has no gender at all.

And is a cat or a person’s gender solely based upon their reproductive organs? Clearly not when it comes to humans. Women have different behavioural characteristics, attitudes and mentalities to men.

As she looks female, and I believe that she will act like a female, it would be unreasonable and unfair to describe her as gender neutral. That is possibly another error in The Telegraph headline.

An interesting aspect of this story is that Hope has been adopted by Jessi Bennett, a student at Newcastle University studying for a master’s in animal behaviour who works part-time at Cat Protection.

She renamed Hope as “Beans”. She eagerly stated that she didn’t adopt Beans because she discovered that she was incredibly rare if not unique, but because she wanted a match for her resident cat, Morbius.

I don’t believe her! As soon she found out that Beans was unique in the world, it appears that she was desperate to adopt her for this reason: she will become a star on Instagram!

Beans is destined to be a social media celebrity cat. Celebrity cats are good money-makers because you get an awful lot of hits on social media with a celebrity cat. They are an asset in the modern world of social media and celebrity lifestyles.

Perhaps I’m being a bit cynical, but I would argue that I am being realistic. And I don’t blame her by the why because there was this opportunity, ready-made, an instant social media star right on your doorstep.

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